Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Three indicted for housing fraud in Georgia

The federal justice system is a swift one and when a prosecutor obtains an indictment against the accused, the trial usually takes place faster than in other circumstances. With a grand jury indictment, the prosecutor no longer has to demonstrate to a trial judge that they have enough evidence to continue the case-the prosecutor now goes directly to trial. Therefore, the accused has to work quickly to ensure their rights are protected.

These might be the thoughts going through the minds of three people in Georgia who find themselves indicted for housing fraud. Four people, all associated with a housing scheme that provides rental homes to low income families, were arraigned on charges of stealing from the housing project.

According to statements released by the U.S. Department of State, the two city workers reactivated accounts of people terminated from the program, specifically finding people with very low incomes, and collected the payments made to their bank accounts. They allegedly falsified computer records to change the victim's names to names of people already enrolled in the housing scheme. In addition to this, they supposedly created a fictional tenant and lived in their house, the housing costs of which were paid through the housing scheme. The three, along with one other, are accused of stealing more than $230,000 in federal funds.

Three of the four accused have been indicted, whereas the last accused will be arraigned at a later date. Fraud charges are serious and carry serious penalties, including returning money allegedly stolen and even jail time. These charges should be taken and defended seriously and quickly, before it reaches the trial stage and a defense attorney may be able to help the accused in Atlanta.

Source: bizjournals.com, "Fmr. Marietta workers, landlord indicted for Section 8 housing fraud," Carla Caldwell, April 16, 2014

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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